Carbon composites, typically referred to as carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRPs), are a class of incredibly strong, stiff, and lightweight materials. Following their invention in the 1960s, CFRPs have been adopted into a range of engineering disciplines. As well as becoming a staple material for the aerospace industry, these composite materials have also proved to be successful in civil engineering and automotive engineering applications. CFRPs are used to make an increasing number of consumer and technical products, ranging from tennis rackets to fishing poles. This technical article takes a look at how CFRPs are made and what makes them so beneficial.
CFRPs are a type of composite material comprised of a "filler" material, which is dispersed throughout a bulk ‘matrix’. In the case of CFRPs, the filler consists of carbon fibers (typically defined as fibers that contain at least 92% carbon by weight) and the matrix is a polymer.